US News: What Pissed Off the Tea Party in 2014

By Steve Nelson, US News & World Report, December 29, 2014

Though it’s largely evolved from a protest movement in favor of fiscal discipline into an ill-defined conservative brand, the so-called tea party continues to be represented by several advocacy85 organizations and elected officials, and provided plenty of fodder for TV pundits and political pontificators in 2014.

Here’s some of what riled people associated with the movement this year.

Six-Term ‘RINO’ Woos Democrats to Win Re-Election

He’s been serving in Congress longer than most Americans have been alive, and in November centrist Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., won a seventh six-year term in the Senate.

He did that by first narrowly defeating tea party-associated candidate Chris McDaniel in a June Republican primary runoff.

Looking doomed after the first round of voting, Cochran — a proud and prolific pork-barrel spender — actively campaigned for Democratic votes, enraging McDaniel supporters and the national tea party-associated groups backing his candidacy.

McDaniel refused to accept defeat and sued, arguing in part that voter fraud enabled Cochran’s win. The suit was thrown out of court.

$1.1 Trillion Deal Forged in Back Rooms, Passed Hours Later

With little time to spare to prevent a partial government shutdown, House and Senate leaders smooshed a year’s worth of appropriation bills into a single package and unveiled their 1,603-page deal about 48 hours before bringing the bundle to a vote in the House.

Specific policy riders enraged or pleased members, but the rapid-fire appropriation of more than a thousand billion dollars incensed good-government watchdogs and tea party affiliates.

More than a dozen conservative and tea party-associated Republicans, including Reps. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, and Tim Huelskamp, R-Kans., voted against House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on a procedural vote, momentarily putting the bill’s fate in question. Ultimately, the bill passed the House 219-206 and the Senate 56-40.

‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Get More Guns, Training

The Obama administration has quietly financed Syrian militant groups for years through the Central Intelligence Agency and with approval from a handful of congressmen, according to reports.

But this year, the funds for arms and training were appropriated more democratically — offering skeptics an opportunity to put up a fight, which they did before losing 273-156 in the House and 78-22 in the Senate.

Unlike with many votes on foreign policy and surveillance matters, outgoing Rep. Michele Bachmann, who founded the House Tea Party Caucus, joined many other tea party-associated members and a large number of Democrats voting against the more hawkish party lines.

Cantor Crushed: ‘Hell No’ Caucus Gains Member, But Fails to Replace Boehner

In a stunning defeat, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., in June lost his primary to little-known candidate Dave Brat, who aggressively attacked him on immigration policy, government spending and bailouts.

Known for standing behind Boehner at press conferences, Cantor was disliked by many tea party activists, but his loss was not expected and national groups did not back Brat.

Boehner, who described unbending fiscal conservatives part of a “hell no” caucus within his party, fared better, winning his primary and re-election and then escaping a possible leadership challenge in November.

“I don’t have any comment on that,” tea party-associated libertarian Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky, told USA Today. “There was only one person on the ballot. It’s just like North Korea.”

Rand Paul Hits the Trail for Mitch McConnell

There’s quiet disillusionment among many tea party-minded activists whenever Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., appears to soften his stances in advance of a possible 2016 presidential run.

The concern is often expressed on online forums founded by fans of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, and peaked when Paul endorsed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for re-election and hit the campaign trail with him.

McConnell faced off against self-professed tea partier Matt Bevins, who generated significant buzz before his campaign fizzled.

Paul family relative and political aide Jesse Benton, who managed McConnell’s campaign, explained in a leaked phone call he was merely plugging his nose to aid Paul, though the senator himself did not admit to such motives.

“Quite frankly, Rand Paul is beginning to have a credibility problem with the Kentucky Tea Parties,” Scott Hoffstra, spokesman for the United Kentucky Tea Party, told Breitbart News.

‘Emperor Obama’ Changes Immigration Enforcement Policies

Far from the original emphasis on lowering spending and taxes, many (but not all) groups seeking to institutionalize the tea party movement were enraged by Obama’s unilateral decision to spare up to 5 million people from deportation.

Obama, derisively referred to as “deporter in chief” by immigration activists pointing to his record-high rates of forcing out visa-less visitors, says the November pivot is revenue neutral and an acceptable use of prosecutorial discretion.

Whether that’s true is a decision for the courts. Federal judges have already reached opposite conclusions — and a suit brought by 25 state attorneys general hasn’t had its day in court.

All Static on the Surveillance Front

Members of the House of Representatives who most proudly wear the tea party label tend to oppose the government’s domestic surveillance programs, funded with a “black budget” whose price tag is kept secret from many congressmen.

Tea party-affiliated members generally form a bloc with progressive Democrats against centrists, war hawks and party leaders.

As with the July 2013 Amash amendment vote, this year tea party-associated members voted largely together on the USA Freedom Act, which like the Amash amendment would have ended the NSA’s automatic collection and in-house retention of U.S. phone records.

Many tea partiers co-sponsored the bill, but voted against it when it was weakened at the behest of the Obama administration and House leaders (it passed without their votes).

In the Senate, tea party-associated Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pleaded for passage of a retooled version of the Freedom Act, but the cloture vote failed with Sen. Paul voting “no,” saying he’d prefer to kill underlying Patriot Act provisions next year. Many civil liberties advocates were appalled by Paul’s position, but he argued his approach is more likely to bring true reform.

Major Marijuana Policy Reform Passes

Self-professed tea partiers tend to be supports of states’ 10th Amendment rights, and many have been active in promoting local autonomy on marijuana policy.

Several Republicans co-introduced an amendment in May to ban the Department of Justice — which includes federal prosecutors and the Drug Enforcement Administration — from spending money to go after medical marijuana in states that allow it.

After passing the House 219-189, the amendment was attached to the $1.1 trillion spending bill and became law.

Federal raids on medical pot users accelerated early in Obama’s first term and remain an issue in some places — such as Washington state, where a family faces possible trial and imprisonment for roughly complying with state law.

In addition to long-serving maverick Reps. Dana Rohrabacher of California and Don Young of Alaska, the measure was co-introduced by tea party-associated Reps. Paul Broun, R-Ga., Justin Amash, R-Mich., Tom McClintock, R-Calif., and Steve Stockman, R-Texas.

Another tea party-affiliated member, Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., who rode the 2010 Republican wave into Congress, introduced legislation that would make it possible to acquire marijuana at the neighborhood pharmacy with health insurance.

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Comments

  1. Bill Smith says:

    I think its’ time for the TP to be identified as RINOs. They are a minority of the membership of the Republican Party, wrongly see themselves as “true” conservatives in distinction from ordinary conservatives (whom TPeirs will designate “progressives” if they do not take TP postions), and talk of cleansing the Party of the majority who in reality are the heirs of the Reagan legacy. Conservatives similar to today’s TP members were disillusioned with and started criticizing Reagan almost as soon as he took office. The Republican Party, not the minoirty TP within it, is the Party of Reagan.

    • Also, as you may recall, in 1980 the Republican Party made a Faustian deal. In an effort to attract as many white Southern voters who had become disaffected by the the national Democrats and their embrace of civil rights reforms, politicos like Lee Atwater convinced Ronald Reagan to reach out to the so-called “Religious Right” and the Dixiecrat holdovers from the old Democrat Party. Once the GOP began its relationship with these two tribes, it sacrificed Barry Goldwater’s secular conservative principles and vision to the pandering of the mob who have done nothing but create discord and division since their unholy intrusion into the party over 30 years ago. By imposing their sectarian litmus tests, coupled with their shameless use of racial division, all in an effort to create a monolithic Southern WASP Christian
      Commonwealth, these Christian Collectivists have made it almost impossible for the Republican Party to ever maintain a national majority at the federal level.

      The Scalise scandal is just another reminder. But it may actually be a good
      thing for the GOP. It may finally force the Republican Party leadership to face the reality that the tail has been wagging the dog far too long. This will require the GOP leadership to be even more vigilant to insure that the extremists—the lint that clings to the fabric that surrounds the base of the Republican Party–will never be successful in their efforts (as I have said in the past) to nominate a Perry, Huckabee, Palin, McDaniel, Akin, Mourdock, or any other version of David Duke lite as the Republican candidate for President or U.S. Senate.
      David Frazier

      • Bill Smith says:

        First, I am an evangelical Christian of the Anglican sort. I am not and never have been a part of the religious right though I have in common with them some aspects of evangelical belief. I remember in the early 80’s attending a meeting in Hatttiesburg of a group associated with the Moral Majority and thinking to myself, “These are not my people.” Two reasons. (1) I was not and am not a fundamentalist. (2) I did not and do not believe there is a “Christian position” on most political issues. Many political issues have to do with wisdom, compromise, coalitiion building, preferences, choices, etc. not timeless, transcendent truth (which I do believe in). The doctrine of the Trinity is timeless transcendent truth. So are the moral principles of the historic Christian faith. Monetary policy, the strategic defense initiative, NATO, heathcare policy, Social Security and Medicare, etc. are not. All these issues are important ones, but they are not issues on which Christians should expect to hold views that are God’s views.

        The “Southern strategy” goes back to Nixon. It did no begin with Atwater and Reagan.

        Then all politcal victories depend on coalitions. There is no reason that Reagan should not have reached out to the Religious Right. Democrats reach out to the Religious Left. Both make appeals to Roman Catholics. Coalitions are necessarily messy and call for a certain amount of nose holding on the parts of its constituencies in order to work together. The Republican Party coalition includes classic conservatives such a Taft and Dirksen (which is not in my view what you think it is), neo-conservatives such as Gingrich and Krauthammer, libertarians such as the two Pauls, and conservative evangelicals such as Robertson and Falwell. These overlap in various ways and winning depends on their finding enough in common in an election cycle to hold together and vote together. And of course, some do not nicely into one of these categories. One of the things so bad about McDaniel is that he is willing to tear the coalition apart for his verison of Republican purity and absolutism. He either is historically ignorant or disgengenuous when he talks about taking the MS Republcan party back to what it always believed.

        However, I think the Republican Pary you envision would be a very small one. Probably smaller than the one the TP wants. What you seem to mean by secular is a Party in which faith is irrelevant or at least much be treated as so. That is tantamout to saying that God does not exist or that we must agreem that he makes no difference to public liife if he does. I think the vast majority of Republicans would not agree with you on that. Goldwater is far from the only kind of conservative. Willam F. Buckley is probably more important. He was a theist and a Roman Catholic one and National Review was to a large extent a journal of Catholic conservatism. Buckley surely thought that God and the Christian faith were relavent to politics. Reagan was not a Goldwater conservative as you think of Goldwater. It was not accidental that he described the Soviet Union as an evil empire with evil conceived in theistic and Judaeo-Christian terms. I would judge that, even when it comes to most of the older classical conservatives, while they did not wear their faith on their sleeves, they would be appalled at the idea of politics devoid of God and faith.

        If McDaniel should prevail people such as you and I would be out of the Party. If you prevailed, I would be out. If you want what amounts to a Republcian Party that is either really or practically atheist is, then you have a very small party indeed. We have seen what radical secularism is – Nazism and Communiism. I think in the long term apart from God and faith it is very hard to have freedom.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hey Bill: You think to hard! But I’m flattered that you would take the time. Therefore, allow me to reply accordingly.
        First, as you well know, the U.S.A. is a secular democratic republic–the Constitution its operation manual.
        Second,  the Religious Right came to realize after 1976 that “theology is ultimately political.” What is more, “the way human communities deify the transcendent and determine the categories of good and evil have more to do with the power dynamics of the social systems which create the theologies than with the spontaneous revelation of truth from another quarter.” The Religious Right and the Christian Collectivist Community takes this very literally.
        Third, to be sure, most of the common law which is a part of the American legal structure is based upon Judeo-Christian principles. However, our Founding Fathers were adamant that those important principles should not be used as a gateway for Judeo-Christian beliefs to interfere with the operation of good, secular, republic government, which is designed to serve the people, not the other way around. The Christian Collectivists refuse to separate their thinking between legitimate principles, which have a place in developing policy, and the promulgation of legislation which does nothing but promote their narrow sectarian beliefs, which is not only divisive among the people, but also in clear violation of the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause.
        Fourth, the “Southern Strategy” was first pronounced by Nixon as you say. However, Nixon loathed the Religious Right and the Christian Collectivist Community. He did not even attempt to hide his contempt for them. They were more than aware of this. Therefore, as I said before, it was left to a Southern politico like Lee Atwater, to convince Reagan to put into action what Nixon had merely pronounced.
        Fifth, coalitions are often necessary for winning any campaign. There is nothing wrong with that so long as the leader of the coalition does not unnecessarily sacrifice its core principles to the weaker member. As I have said before, Reagan was convinced by Atwater and others to sacrifice Goldwater’s vision of a secular democratic republic (as the Founder’s envisioned) bound by conservative principles. In doing so, he made a Faustian bargain that has made it impossible for the GOP to maintain a healthy national ruling coalition. Instead, this SS has encouraged the Dixiecrats and the Christian Collectivists who are aligned with the Religious Right to continue to be the tail which wags the dog. Also, Mr. Buckley came to realize in his later years what Franklin and the other Founders knew, that theistic beliefs should not be used to interfere in the operation of good
        governance. He too came to have regrets regarding the Religious Right. Also, Reagan’s use of hyperbole in describing the Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire” should come as no surprise. As I have pointed out before, as a professional actor and salesman, he was the most effective “Panderer-in-Chief” of any President in the modern era.
        Sixth, I do not advocate a government dedicated to “godliness” like fascism or communism, which promote the welfare of the State over all else, devoid of basic human rights as found in natural law, but rather a government that is dedicated to preserving and protecting these rights for all of its citizens. History clearly shows that only a secular democratic republic, devoid of sectarian and religious prejudice is capable of doing this.

        David Frazier

  2. Bill is correct according to Eric Erickson. Following the defeat of The Anointed One, even Mr. Erickson acknowledged that “perhaps we’re the ones who are the true RINOs.” I have been saying this as well for quite a while, and that the McGOPers and many other Tea Party Patriots are the lint that clings to the fringe that surrounds the base of the Republican Party.
    David Frazier

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey Bill: You think to hard! But I’m flattered that you would take the time. Therefore, allow me to reply accordingly. First, as you well know, the U.S.A. is a secular democratic republic–the Constitution its operation manual. Second, the Religious Right came to realize after 1976 that “theology is ultimately political.” What is more, “the way human communities deify the transcendent and determine
      the categories of good and evil have more to do with the power
      dynamics of the social systems which create the theologies than with the spontaneous revelation of truth from another quarter.” The Religious Right and the Christian Collectivist Community takes this very literally. Third, to be sure, most of the common law which is a part of the American legal structure is based upon Judeo-Christian principles. However, our Founding Fathers were adamant that those important principles should not be used as a gateway for Judeo-Christian beliefs to interfere with the operation of good, secular, republic government, which is designed to serve the people, not the other way around. The Christian Collectivists refuse to separate their thinking between legitimate principles, which have a place in developing policy, and the promulgation of legislation which does nothing but promote their narrow sectarian beliefs, which is not only divisive among the people, but also in clear violation of the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause. Fourth, the “Southern Strategy” was first pronounced by Nixon as you say. However, Nixon loathed the Religious Right and the Christian Collectivist Community. He did not even attempt to hide his contempt for them. They were more than aware of this. Therefore, as I said before, it was left to a Southern politico like Lee Atwater, to convince Reagan to put into action what Nixon had merely pronounced. Fifth, coalitions are often necessary for winning any campaign. There is nothing wrong with that so long as the leader of the coalition does not unnecessarily sacrifice its core principles to the weaker member. As I have said before, Reagan was convinced by Atwater and others to sacrifice Goldwater’s vision of a secular democratic republic (as the Founder’s envisioned) bound by conservative principles. In doing so, he made a Faustian bargain that has made it impossible for the GOP to maintain a healthy national ruling coalition. Instead, this SS has encouraged the Dixiecrats and the Christian Collectivists
      who are aligned with the Religious Right to continue to be the tail which wags the dog. Also, Mr. Buckley came to realize in his later
      years what Franklin and the other Founders knew, that theistic beliefs should not be used to interfere in the operation of good
      governance. He too came to have regrets regarding the Religious Right. Also, Reagan’s use of hyperbole in describing the Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire” should come as no surprise. As I have pointed out before, as a professional actor and salesman, he was the most effective “Panderer-in-Chief” of any President in the modern era. Sixth, I do not advocate a government dedicated to “godliness” like fascism or communism, which promote the welfare of the State over all else, devoid of basic human rights as found in natural law, but rather a government that is dedicated to preserving and protecting these rights for all of its citizens. History clearly shows that only a secular democratic republic, devoid of sectarian and religious prejudice is capable of doing this.
      David Frazier

  3. It tickles me sometimes when I read where some of our commentary folks think that the tea party folks are just a fringe on the republican party, just a mole on the rear end of the great republican party. Sometimes they fail to recognize or are just too blind to see that it is a conservative movement that is growing by the day. In Mississippi the established repubs had to recruit democrats and scheme to hold onto power. The repubs also had to spend countless millions of dollars in lies and propaganda so they could try to hold onto power and this in their own primaries and they never had to do this before. They also spread fear among the electorate that the sky is falling if the repubs are not put back in power so they can protect us from the democrats. Conservatives are having to unite because the established repubs have failed to work toward balancing the budget, failed to stop the federal overreach of education by dangling the money carrot in front of educators who are always looking for more money with most never reaching the classroom, failing to strengthen our military, failure to secure our borders and enforce the current laws that are in place that would help to secure us all. Fringe of society, mole on someone’s rear end, tea partier, extremist, far right winger. Nah, just Americans who care about their country and what the future holds for their children and grandchildren. The establishment will say that these folks are not willing to compromise and this is another reason to keep the same old politicians in office, even though it is these same old politicians that have negotiated us by the tune of 18 trillion dollars in debt and counting and still passing record breaking spending bills and promising to address it next term when they are in control of both houses, yea right.
    It also seems ironic to me that the established repubs also try to place fear in the electorate by trying to associate conservatives with the kkk, David duke, white supremacy, and any other racist group they can name. All this by a bunch of old “white guys” who are hell bent on holding onto power and the purse strings. Fringe of society, extremist, racist, mole on the rear end of the established repubs, nah. The conservative movement is growing, be careful established repubs as you just might just get caught up in the tidal wave. Oh, we know the repubs are going to come calling because the election is coming next year and they will again need to spread the propaganda that the sky is falling, but no need to look up, it is still up there.

    • Bill Smith says:

      Michael, you ignore the facts of the last election cycle. When it came to the Senate, what you call the “establishment” either protected reliable conservative Senators or supported those who were mainstream conservatives, who, whle welcoming TP support, were not themselves typical TPiers. Look, for instance, at SC, KS, LA, MS, GA. In the general election won them all going away. The only TP victory of significance was the defeat of Eric Cantor, himself solid conservative, by TP economics professor. BTW, look att the way Cantor conducted himself after his loss.

      Look also at the frontrunners at this point for the Republican nomination.Why do they have the support they have now from Republican voters?

      As for MS, we will see in the coming year where things stand. Did the TP hit its highwater moment with the near victory of Chris McDaneil or is it, as you thinkk still rising?

      You want the budget balanced. How soon? How much pain are you willing to inflict in order to balance the budget? What cuts will you make? It’s one thing to call for a balanced budget. It’s another to look at the money and make the budget work.

      You want the miltary strengthened. What do you mean by strengthen? How much money to you want? What will you put the money to do? Then what do you want the military to do with its strength? Most important, how much are you willing to have the deficit grow to strengthen the military? Or, what cuts will you make elsewhere so you can spend on the military?

      You want currrent immigration laws enforced. OK, how are you going to round up all the illegals? Where will you put them for the time being? How will you handle all the hearings needed to deport them? How will you get them out of the US? Planes? Busses? How do you handle the logistics of rounding up and deporting?

      You don’t like the federal role in education or the money from the federal government. Now, tell me what you are going to do to educate MS children? How many of them are you willing to leave behind? What are you going to do to raise the money or else cut the education budget in order to be free of the federal dollars?

      In the end success in politics means the skill to make friends and build coalitions, the abiility to put together coalitions, the wisdom to make compromises and make deals, the insight to see what is possible and what is not. It’s messy. It means you sometimes get a quarter or half of a pie not the whole but you take it and come back later and try to get some more. Sometimes you decide figthing to get the pie at all is not worth a fight you won’t win. Politics is and always has been the art of the possible. As Bismark said, two things you don’t want to watch being made, else you get sick: sausages and laws.

      Nationally I think the TP has peaked and now is declining. In MS we shall see.

      • Bill, what kind of conservative are you? Your solutions seem to be to do nothing but accept the status quo, continue to ignore the deficit, allow anyone into the country regardless of any detriment to the citizens who it may put in danger, leave us with a weakening military, and let the geniuses in Washington educate our children. These ideas sound a lot like liberal democrats and what has been happening for the last 20 years or more. This is the reason that the repubs were put back in power by the electorate and that is to change the status quo and if they fail to address it then they too will be thrown out of office. As for tea partiers, I don’t know any, but I do know a lot of Christian conservatives who are deeply concerned about our country and the direction we are going and the problems that we will leave to our children and grandchildren and their future is not for sale or compromise.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey Michael: You and other McGOPers should listen and pay attention to your conservative elder, Bill Smith. He raises important points, and speaks with the wisdom of someone who has seen a few elections, as well as candidates come and go over the years. You don’t have to agree with him on everything to realize that the McDaniel primary initial upset of Cochran was a political anomaly, not likely to be repeated anywhere soon.
      David Frazier

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey Bill: You think to hard! But I’m flattered that you would take the time. Therefore, allow me to reply accordingly.
    First, as you well know, the U.S.A. is a secular democratic republic–the Constitution its operation manual.
    Second,  the Religious Right came to realize after 1976 that “theology is ultimately political.” What is more, “the way human communities deify the transcendent and determine the categories of good and evil have more to do with the power dynamics of the social systems which create the theologies than with the spontaneous revelation of truth from another quarter.” The Religious Right and the Christian Collectivist Community takes this very literally.
    Third, to be sure, most of the common law which is a part of the American legal structure is based upon Judeo-Christian principles. However, our Founding Fathers were adamant that those important principles should not be used as a gateway for Judeo-Christian beliefs to interfere with the operation of good, secular, republic government, which is designed to serve the people, not the other way around. The Christian Collectivists refuse to separate their thinking between legitimate principles, which have a place in developing policy, and the promulgation of legislation which does nothing but promote their narrow sectarian beliefs, which is not only divisive among the people, but also in clear violation of the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause.
    Fourth, the “Southern Strategy” was first pronounced by Nixon as you say. However, Nixon loathed the Religious Right and the Christian Collectivist Community. He did not even attempt to hide his contempt for them. They were more than aware of this. Therefore, as I said before, it was left to a Southern politico like Lee Atwater, to convince Reagan to put into action what Nixon had merely pronounced.
    Fifth, coalitions are often necessary for winning any campaign. There is nothing wrong with that so long as the leader of the coalition does not unnecessarily sacrifice its core principles to the weaker member. As I have said before, Reagan was convinced by Atwater and others to sacrifice Goldwater’s vision of a secular democratic republic (as the Founder’s envisioned) bound by conservative principles. In doing so, he made a Faustian bargain that has made it impossible for the GOP to maintain a healthy national ruling coalition. Instead, this SS has encouraged the Dixiecrats and the Christian Collectivists who are aligned with the Religious Right to continue to be the tail which wags the dog. Also, Mr. Buckley came to realize in his later years what Franklin and the other Founders knew, that theistic beliefs should not be used to interfere in the operation of good
    governance. He too came to have regrets regarding the Religious Right. Also, Reagan’s use of hyperbole in describing the Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire” should come as no surprise. As I have pointed out before, as a professional actor and salesman, he was the most effective “Panderer-in-Chief” of any President in the modern era.
    Sixth, I do not advocate a government dedicated to “godliness” like fascism or communism, which promote the welfare of the State over all else, devoid of basic human rights as found in natural law, but rather a government that is dedicated to preserving and protecting these rights for all of its citizens. History clearly shows that only a secular democratic republic, devoid of sectarian and religious prejudice is capable of doing this.

    David Frazier

  5. Bill Smith says:

    What kind of conservative am I? A Reagan conservative pretty well descrbes me. Reagan had conservative principles by which he stood. At the same time he was a realist, a pragmatist, and a big tent conservative.

    I did not propose solutions but, in the netxt to last paragraph, a way to approach dealing with them. In the preceding paragraphs I asked what you want and how you proposed getting from where we are to where you want to go.

    Aa you say, a lot of Christian conservatives are concerned about our country. I am, too. But in my view little is accomplished by attacking “the establishment”, a accusing people who are conservatives by any historical standard of not being “true consevatives”, and by staking out postions but not having any legislative path by which you get there. In the short term I am concerned that we not blow this opportunity we have with the election of Republican majorities in both houses. For that reason I support the Boehner and McConnell.

  6. Hey Bill: You think to hard! But I’m flattered that you would take the time. Therefore, allow me to reply accordingly.
    First, as you well know, the U.S.A. is a secular democratic republic–the Constitution its operation manual.
    Second,  the Religious Right came to realize after 1976 that “theology is ultimately political.” What is more, “the way human communities deify the transcendent and determine the categories of good and evil have more to do with the power dynamics of the social systems which create the theologies than with the spontaneous revelation of truth from another quarter.” The Religious Right and the Christian Collectivist Community takes this very literally.
    Third, to be sure, most of the common law which is a part of the American legal structure is based upon Judeo-Christian principles. However, our Founding Fathers were adamant that those important principles should not be used as a gateway for Judeo-Christian beliefs to interfere with the operation of good, secular, republic government, which is designed to serve the people, not the other way around. The Christian Collectivists refuse to separate their thinking between legitimate principles, which have a place in developing policy, and the promulgation of legislation which does nothing but promote their narrow sectarian beliefs, which is not only divisive among the people, but also in clear violation of the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause.
    Fourth, the “Southern Strategy” was first pronounced by Nixon as you say. However, Nixon loathed the Religious Right and the Christian Collectivist Community. He did not even attempt to hide his contempt for them. They were more than aware of this. Therefore, as I said before, it was left to a Southern politico like Lee Atwater, to convince Reagan to put into action what Nixon had merely pronounced.
    Fifth, coalitions are often necessary for winning any campaign. There is nothing wrong with that so long as the leader of the coalition does not unnecessarily sacrifice its core principles to the weaker member. As I have said before, Reagan was convinced by Atwater and others to sacrifice Goldwater’s vision of a secular democratic republic (as the Founder’s envisioned) bound by conservative principles. In doing so, he made a Faustian bargain that has made it impossible for the GOP to maintain a healthy national ruling coalition. Instead, this SS has encouraged the Dixiecrats and the Christian Collectivists who are aligned with the Religious Right to continue to be the tail which wags the dog. Also, Mr. Buckley came to realize in his later years what Franklin and the other Founders knew, that theistic beliefs should not be used to interfere in the operation of good
    governance. He too came to have regrets regarding the Religious Right. Also, Reagan’s use of hyperbole in describing the Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire” should come as no surprise. As I have pointed out before, as a professional actor and salesman, he was the most effective “Panderer-in-Chief” of any President in the modern era.
    Sixth, I do not advocate a government dedicated to “godliness” like fascism or communism, which promote the welfare of the State over all else, devoid of basic human rights as found in natural law, but rather a government that is dedicated to preserving and protecting these rights for all of its citizens. History clearly shows that only a secular democratic republic, devoid of sectarian and religious prejudice is capable of doing this.

    David Frazier

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